The 2015 elections in Burundi: towards authoritarianism or democratic consolidation?

After the end of the civil war in 2005 and the victory of the rebel group CNDD-FDD (National Council for the Defence of Democracy and the Forces for the Defence of Democracy), democracy and stability seemed closer than ever before. Since the end of the war, two elections have been deemed relatively free and fair, although far from perfect. Burundi’s new constitution also contains the formulae for a meticulous consociational division of power, which allows a minimum of ethnic, gender and political pluralism.


This heritage is, however, increasingly under the attack of the ruling party, the CNDD-FDD, as explained previously on this blog. Their hold on power was facilitated by the opposition’s boycott of the 2010 elections. Since 2010, the ruling party has increased its efforts to close political space across the country. A law passed in June severely restricts media freedom. In addition, the ruling party has not been afraid to imprison journalists or kill members of the opposition.

The most worrying development, however, is the government’s recent attempt to revise the country’s constitution.